By Dan Merica, CNN
Washington (CNN) – Mitt Romney’s defeat appears to close out a years-long “Mormon moment,” a period of national fascination with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
It has also provoked Mormon disappointment; Romney would have been first Latter-day Saint in the White House, culminating a decades-long process of growing Mormon acceptance and influence.
But prominent Mormons and religion experts say Mormons should be heartened that Romney’s candidacy appeared to help mainstream the relatively young faith, which was founded in 1830 in upstate New York.
“Part of the Mormon moment was curiosity and much of that curiosity has been satisfied,” said John Green, professor of political science at the University of Akron.
“There will always be people who disagree with them,” Green said, “but the sense is that this community is part of the broad middle of American society.”
As stories about the LDS Church graced the covers of magazines and front pages of newspapers, the church’s press office was working overtime to answer questions from around the globe. A church that prefers to keep private became very public.
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“Without question there has been an increase in interest in the Church over the past several years,” church spokesman Michael Purdy told CNN. “Although there have been exceptions, this attention has given people the opportunity to know who we are and what we believe.”
It also meant more publicity for aspects of the church that many Mormons would prefer not dwell on, like the church’s onetime practice of polygamy (the church banned the practice more than 100 years ago) and its denial of the priesthood to black members until the late 1970s.
But even the uncomfortable questions were good for the church, said Richard Bushman, a Mormon scholar who has served as a local Mormon leader.
“So long as those objections and criticisms were kept under wraps, they just sort of festered there,” Bushman said. “Getting them out in the open where people could speak candidly, that in a way clears the atmosphere.”
Coverage of Mormonism also led to some level of misinformation. One example: On the TV show “The View,” on October 18, 2012, Whoopi Goldberg asked Ann Romney, Mitt Romney’s wife, about how she would relate to soldiers.
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“As first lady, if you get the job, it’s going to entail a lot of things, and one of those things is going to be talking to the mothers whose children are coming home in bags, you know, from wars,” Goldberg said. “Now, I know - I believe that your religion doesn’t allow you to go fight.”
Goldberg was wrong. Mormons are actually known to enlist in the military at higher levels than others. “No, that's not correct,” Ann Romney told Goldberg. “We have many, many members of our faith that are serving in armed services.”
Purdy, the church spokesman, says such exchanges were ultimately beneficial.
“A good deal of misinformation has been replaced with a more accurate picture of the Church, its doctrines, and its members across the world,” Purdy said. “That is a good thing for all involved and we look forward to these opportunities continuing.”
But with Romney’s loss, interest in Mormonism is expected to dwindle. Joanna Brooks, a well known Mormon blogger and author says it’s only a matter of time until that interest returns.
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“There have been many Mormon moments, and there will be many more to come,” she said. “Mormonism remains a vibrant and distinctive force on the American religious landscape, and as a young religion with a new global reach, the Mormon story is still unfolding.”
The last Mormon moment, she said, was a good one: “This is a moment in which the nation proved that it was capable of having a discussion about candidates and platforms without openly subjecting either candidate to a religious test.”
Though Romney’s faith garnered plenty of coverage - from Time’s cover story “The Mormon Identity,” to New York Magazine’s “Where is the Mormonism in Mitt Romney?,” - neither the campaigns nor outside groups made much, if any, mention of it.
Romney’s bid seemed to improve relations between Mormons and evangelical Christians, many of whom have long seen the LDS Church as a cult. In May, Romney spoke at Liberty University, founded by Jerry Falwell.
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Weeks before the election, too, the Rev. Billy Graham met with Romney for the first time and removed “Mormonism” from a section of his website devoted to cults.
“The Billy Graham business, for me that was symbolic that evangelicals instead of just dismissing Mormonism, (they) now need to talk a little more about what they mean,” Bushman said.
According to exit polls on Tuesday, 79% of white evangelical Christians voted for Mitt Romney in 2012. That’s an even higher share of the white evangelical vote than John McCain got in 2008, when he was the Republican presidential nominee.
“From the point of view of religious tolerance and acceptance, there were some really positive trends,” Green said. “It does suggest that the path towards greater religious tolerance has continued.”
Green raised the subject with his students after Tuesday’s election. At the end of the conversation, Green said one non-Mormon student’s comment encapsulated the strides Mormonism made in the last year.
“They aren’t any stranger,” the student joked, “than anyone else.”
– CNN’s Allison Brennan contributed to this report.
Thank Goodness I am not only sick of all the political ad's but also the ones that have people trying to convince you how every day normal they are, then add at the end "and I'm a Mormon.' Nice try..I have nothing against Mormon's but the amount of money paid for these ad's is outrageous all because they wanted one of their own in the oval office. They started about 2 yrs before the election too. A shame that money did not go to a good charity. WWJHD?
If the Mormons want to mainstream their religion, they'd be better off uniting behind Jon Hunstman as a candidate instead of serial liar and vulture capitalist Willard Romney.
Mitt was a moderate, but his own party decided a far right wing agenda was in their best interest. A failed strategy putting Mitt as a disadvantage considering the fact that he was forced to go against his own moderate nature.
Bye Bye Rombot!
Yeah ... the remark that "A church that prefers to keep private became very public" is odd to me. How can a church with over 50,000 missionaries worldwide be accused of try to stay private?
They do not start you out with a main course of magic underwear, dead baptism and descriptions of Kolob when they are introducing others to their faith. They start with "We love being good to eachother, doesn't that sound nice?" and "We love family's and we love God and his son Jesus" but nary a mention of angel moroni till you are balls deep and have already donated and have started to enjoy having your ears tickled, then they let you in on the "perks" of mormonism, you know, Godhood, your own planet, leadership roles over others especially those you dislike.
Exactly. It's the rabbit hole of religions... you never really know where all the lies and fantasies and crazy sci-fi nonsense ever ends.
Scientology works the same way.
There is nary a mention of Thetans until you've invested a significant amount of time and money in the organization.
Prayer changes things .
Thank God it does or we might have a Mormon in the White House...
"Ronald Regonzo" who degenerates to:
"Salvatore" degenerates to:
"Douglas" degenerates to:
"truth be told" degenerates to:
"Thinker23" degenerates to:
"Atheism is not healthy ..." degenerates to:
"another repentant sinner" degenerates to:
"Dodney Rangerfield" degenerates to:
"tina" degenerates to:
"captain america" degenerates to:
"Atheist Hunter" degenerates to:
"Anybody know how to read? " degenerates to:
"just sayin" degenerates to:
"ImLook'nUp" degenerates to:
"Kindness" degenerates to:
"Chad" degenerates to
"Bob" degenerates to
"nope" degenerates to:
"2357" degenerates to:
"WOW" degenerates to:
"fred" degenerates to:
"!" degenerates to:
"pervert alert" is a degenerate.
This troll is not a christian.
Prayer does not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.
An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.
The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs"
PRAYER REALLY CHANGED THINGS FOR DEANNA LANEY
Deanna Laney, a devout member of the Assemblies of God Church, was fortunate enough to have God answer her prayers and speak directly to her in 2004.
Unfortunately for her three children, 8-year-old Joshua, 6-year-old Luke and 14-month old Aaron, God's message to their Mom was straight out of the Old Testament.
Mrs. Laney obeyed the Divine Commands and proceeded to stone her children to death.
As of May of this year, she is back in church, a free woman
I believe in prayer and it has changed me for the better. It took me a long time to understand how to pray and what to pray for, and I know now that praying for the common good is what prayer is all about. It also took me decades to hear the Holy Spirit, but I can hear the Spirit loud and clear now. I just needed to listen.
Man, if you're hearing voices you should get help. That ain't god talking to you.
Do you really think God told her to do that? She probably was mentally ill or needed some medication. There are so many evil things being done in humanity in the name of one god or another. You will know it is true..if it is right. God is not gonna tell you to kill your kids! C'mon now.
God to tell people to kill children all the time – just read the Old Testament.
In 2008, He told Boyce Singleton Jr. to shoot and stab his pregnant girlfriend.
Blair Donnelly received instructions to stab to death his 16 year old daughter, Stephanie.
Christopher Varian was slaughtered with a cheese knife after God spoke with one of his employees.
God told Jennifer Cisowski to dash her infant's head on the rocks, so ""Just like Jesus raised Lazarus, I threw the baby on the stones by the pool."
Khandi Busby got a direct message from God advising her that the only way to save her 6 and 8 year old boys was to toss them off a bridge in Dallas. Fortunately, they survived.
Angel Rico says he received a divine command to strangle his 4 year old son, so he did just that and left him at the side of the highway.
Lashaun Harris threw her 3 kids – aged 6, 2 and 16 months, into the San Francisco Bay after God let her know that He wanted a human sacrifice.
Haha... a religion that likes to keep quiet. Have you ever let their missionaries into your house? Those boys know how to talk... for quite a while.
Notice how none of them got up on a National stage and started explaining everything that Mormons believe? Because about 5 minutes in the average Christian in America would go "Whaaahhhuuut???" and then promptly laughed in Romney's face. Without any outspoken members touting their brand of Christianity America still laughed in Romneys face, it just took a little longer since so few really knew what Mormons teach.
Personally I know a few Mormon's and I don't dislike them but they are weird. I'm sorry but they are. I get that they have their own ways and convictions and beliefs but right down to say not drinking coffee or soda? It just seems a little weird and rather extreme. I've never honestly heard much good about being a Mormon and tend to agree it's more like a cult. I am agnostic (was raised Catholic) so truthfully I'd be happier with a much less (or not at all) religious leader. A very religious leader scares the hell out of me.
It's coffee and tea..soda is fine and so is herbal tea. Having a diet coke right now! It's just not healthy for your body...still your choice but because it is in our Words of Wisdom 99% don't touch it. Oh..and it isn't about the caffeine. There is a type of acid in the tea leaves and coffee beans. Mormons were the 1st to say that tobacco was bad for you too. Can you imagine how that went over considering some members were tobacco farmers?
Don't worry too much about the whole coffee and tea thing. There are SO MANY Mormons here in Utah that drink them anyways. And I'm sure the tobacco farmers kept right on farming... The one thing you'll see in Utah is that the real god of the Mormons is the almighty dollar bill.
Gosh, I could not agree with you more. Take an atheist anytime over a religious person who has been brainwashed from the beginning of conception, well, shortly after.....
99% you think? I doubt that...
Christine, don't you think it best to judge others by their actions?
Im just so dam..what kind of church would promote to be the Latter Day Saint of Jesus Christ and fully back up a outright liar like Mitt Romney?..What would Jesus do ...oh I forgot..they are just use the name of Jesus but play by their own rules..when has Jesus ever forsaken anyone from his presence. It never matter if your black, white, brown. Theses racist need to stop using Jesus in their mess.
You're forgetting Jesus' mystical trip to the Americas (that a con artist named Joseph Smith received a "revelation" on) that revealed all sorts of anti-biblical practices to be acceptable. Still not convinced? That's a Mormon queue to tell you that the Bible wasn't translated correctly and the Book of Mormon corrects it.
Religious people of any sort are pieces of crap.
A bold face lie.
I will applaud whole heartedly the first atheist President.
"79% of white evangelical Christians voted for Mitt Romney in 2012. That’s an even higher share of the white evangelical vote than John McCain got in 2008"
Tells me that the white evangelical vote doesn't have as much power as it did 10 yrs ago. Did anyone hear much from evangelical leaders after the primaries? Mitt got a polite nod in his direction NOT an enthusiastic " He's gonna bring God to the government" response. I slso noticed he made a point of name dropping God in his debates too.
Hey, still time to read "Under The Banner Of Heaven" by Jon Krakauer, if you haven't done so yet.
I feel bad for anyone who has bought into this Mormonism garbage. It's just another brainwashing religion preying on the weak minded with their fairy tales.
I agree with you completely.
Mormonism is just a less radical sci-fi story, very similar to Scientology. Both were founded by guys that loved telling tall tales for a living; one a novelist and the other a con man. Speaks volumes.
Don't cry mormons, you still have control of the boyscouts, do you not? Seriously, the boyscouts? Joseph Smith, dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb.
One thing I like about you Paddy me boy, is you sure aren't a bigot or anything.
They should change the name to "Church of Fools and Fairytales."
...and the Senate ;)
Mitt and the Romney family have given Mormons a bad name. They appear to be cowards not willing to serve this country when and if called upon. Money appears to be the only Mormon motivator which explains the elaborate temples.
The Mormon faith is a very peaceful loving practice. It hurts to see how many mis-informed people bash it with such hatred. Mormon's are taught NEVER to judge others and definitely not to put down another's beliefs. I am a convert to the church of nearly 5 yrs. I absolutely love it. My children love it and their morals amaze me. My marriage has been saved...and I mean from what anyone would have said was far beyond repair. It has change the way I value my family and the people around me..even those of you who hate us for no apparent reason. I have been Catholic and Southern Baptist. I can assure you this is no cult. They are the kindest people I have ever known. They would love you and pray for you no matter what you say about them. There are so many things in the world to be angry about...but LDS have done nothing to anyone. Stop hating what you don't understand..please.
I feel the same way. The LDS family has been inspiring and has changed me and my family for the better. With that said our history and beliefs are controversial. I struggle with the beliefs, but not with the actions of its members. We are a very thoughtful, caring, charitable family and that what inspires me to continue with my LDS family. LDS politics are a whole different story. I'm a Harry Reid type of Mormon versus a Glenn Beck type of mormon. I know I'm in the minority now, but I hope that changes with time.
They haven't done anything to anyone else? How about how many Idaho Mormons sent in hundreds of thousands of dollars for Prop 8 in CALIFORNIA. Not even their own state and they are sending money to take away the rights of gay people. What about 'Live and let live'? Don't tell me they have done nothing to anyone when they protest at my school saying that biology shouldn't be taught. Don't tell me they have done nothing when they fight to have their seminary classes be considered part of the PUBLIC EDUCATION and therefore count towards credits. Freedom of religion also means freedom FROM religion.
Seminary is usually done at a member's home who volunteers or at the church building. I would be intereted to know what school you go to. And biology? Weird considering I go to church with a couple of biologists. Sounds like you might have some extremists on your hands. I am sorry to hear that. I have never heard anyone in my church talk about prop 8. I am in Texas though. I cannot speak for every individual but I have heard some people were protesting about that. I hate to hear that too. There is a thing called agency where everyone has a choice of how they live and decisions they make. We are not meant to be controlled. I have no problem with gay people. That is their choice..none of my business. I love them just the same. In the end, it is between them and God. Just like it will be for me and anyone else.
Our ward Bishop actually supports gays and has gay sibblings.
@lala4u – You must not be a native Mormon... take a trip to the "promised land" of Utah. You'll change your mind right quick.
You are right. I have never even been to Utah. Can only speak on what I have seen for myself here in Texas. Wonderful people.
Sorry, @lala4u... It's not pretty here. I have seen first-hand how Mormons in different parts of the country are SO much different than the ones in Utah. Here, there is no limit to snide arrogance, blatant racism and money-hungry cheats and liars. But, they are after all only following Joseph Smith's footsteps more closely.
I wish Christopher Hitchens was still alive and commenting on stories such as this. He would be all over this.
Hopefully the mormon cult has further schisms as it has had them in the past. Joseph Smith was a con man, murderer, rapist, and polygamist with one wife as young as 14 years old. His translation of Egyptian papyrus has proven to have been wrong. He never received gold tablets from the archangel moroni. The book of mormon would have to have weighed 200 pounds to have contained the book of mormon. Supposedly he carried the book of gold tablets under his arms. Brigham Young was a polygamist who was sympathetic to the Confederacy. Brigham Young had 70 wives and his 19th wife divorced him and wrote a book of her experience, now expunged from mormon history. Mormonism only got rid of polygamy in 1890 so Utah could become a state in 1896. Never forget Joseph Smith's nephew voted against abolishing polygamy. He had quite a few wives himself. Mormons knew in their heart Jesus Christ did not preach to the American-Indians. DNA proves American-Indians are not descendants of the 13th tribe of Israel. There were no square boats that crossed the Atlantic. Mormonism did pure evil by rebaptizing dead Holocaust victims. Mormonism only lifted the ban on Black clergy in 1978 to catch up with the times on Civil Rights. Mormons please disband your cult of one percent of the US population. Your 12 prophets of mormon only worry about their collection plate. They look the other way when it comes to FLDS. Never forget and staart to read Mark Twain's account of mormonism. Mark Twain called mormonism chloroform in print.
What religion doesn't have blood and their hands? What man doens't have blood and their hands? Who amongst us is sinless? Has the LDS Chuch performed any good in your eyes? The Church has helped me and my family to be better people so it can't all be bad.
The re-baptized Holocaust victims were ancestors of the Mormons who submitted their names. That is how it works. You do your genealogy then submit the names of those in your own family who you don't believe to have been baptized. As this is the only to Heaven is through baptism. It was not a malicious act. The baptism is more of an offer to the person who has already passed. They do not have to accept it if they don't want it. The leaders of the church were told of what was happening and addressed it immediately. They encourage their members to be aware of the beliefs and wishes of their relatives prior to submitting names.
@lala – that doesn't make it better. You just made it sound even crazier.
@ Sam...I do my best. Baptism for the dead is talked about in the Old Testament. Maybe it seems crazy but my daughter did it for my mother and I can't tell you the peace I feel from knowing it was offered. Many religions have was seems to be odd ceremonies and activities. You don't have to like it or understand it if you don't want to. I just pray for some respect for our beliefs.
Humanity has some very, very crazy beliefs. The Big Bang is one of them. I believe in aliens. And you?
John , very good. But you left out the fact that Romney was fulfilling the Mormon pledge to take over the country. Joseph Smith had a militia and declared himself for President before he was killed in Nauvoo. Since then the vow to take over was repeated by Brigham and then later more LDS decided to do it legally by running for office. Check out the number of politicians in office such as Harry Reid and Udall are in high office. One count 2 years ago had 13 in House and 5 in Senate. It is more now. That does not even count all the state and local politicians and judges. Provo is where the CIA and FBI heavily recruit their agents for many many years now. There are only 7 million LDS in this country . Not counting all the polygamists who are only shunned in public. Not in private. Yet look how many Mormons are in our government offices at National and State levels. Be afraid America. Be very afraid.
I fear anyone that craves power and control.
Merry- what are you talking about? "white wash" the truth? i'm a devote mormon and i'm willing to discusss both doctorinal points as well as church history....including african americans and the priesthood and plural marriage. it happened. we deal with it. we've moved on. look at the good that the church does; by their fruits ye shall know them.
Oh, I know your church all to well, I am the same person that was told that you all felt sorry for me because I was going to hell because I wasn't a member. I think I would prefer hell, thanks. And yes, I was raised with the three books, all the same roots of you church, see you there!
Kinda shot yourself on that one, didn't ya? "By their fruits ye shall know them?" Joseph Smith was a con man. Polygamy. Killing other Mormons in other countries in wars. Racism towards african-americans.
You are correct. BY THEIR FRUITS YE SHALL KNOW THEM.
@ Merry-Are you FLDS? Just curious..never met anyone in the FLDS.
And I would say the same thing to someone who told me that I was going to hell. There's a whole lot worse things going on these days.wow..not being a member of any church is no one's business but yours and your God. I hate to hear that someone said that to you :(
@lala4u....HEAVENS NO....our church used to be called the RLDS (reorganized) but we changed our name to Community of Christ to distance our self's from the stigma.
As a member of a religion that split off of the Mormon church after Joseph Smith died, I can assure you that ALL good Mormons will "white wash" the truth when confronted with things that would put their church in a bad light. I would expect nothing less from Mitt, it isn't any wonder that they also worship the Fox News network also.
As a LDS I agree. I met with my Bishop last week and asked him some questions regarding our Prophet Moroni and the validity of the Book of Mormon and he couldn't answer my questions. I'm not even sure why I asked these questions considering the fact that I knew there were no answers. Our Bishop is a great man and I have great respect for him and his family. He simply stated that while he could not answer my questions he believes in Jesus and the good works our Church does every day, and who can argue against that? I don't believe the Bible or The Book of Mormon word for word (yet), but I do believe in God and the great people in my Ward and so I press on looking forward to this never ending journey.
John, you sound like a good person and I can respect your beliefs, keep perusing that that is true, for the truth shall set you free!
Thank you Merry. I wish you and yours the very best this life has to offer. The truth is all I want in this life. I want to tell the truth (easier said than done sometimes) and I want to receive the truth (feels like a tall order). I feel as if the truth is used against me sometimes, especially during some of my meetings with past Bishops so now I don't spill my guts anymore. We humans are always looking for an angle.
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.